‘Am I Normal Yet?’ is a young adult novel by Holly Bourne, published by Usborne Publishing. It follows Evie as she enters sixth-form, tries her hand at dating, and continues to cope with her OCD and Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
I loved pretty much every single thing about this novel, no word of a lie. It very sensitively portrayed the realities of OCD and anxiety in a relatable way. The way Evie breaks down her thoughts into ‘good’, ‘bad’ and ‘worse’ accurately portrays the way that anxiety often causes thoughts to escalate, and sometimes cause the smallest of problems to turn into unmanageable situations. I personally found this a very good depiction – one of the best I’ve come across yet.
Bourne has obviously done her research – I have never read a novel that so frankly discussed the practicalities of mental illness, medications, and therapies. It reminds me a lot of the British TV show ‘My Mad Fat Diary’, although, from what I recall, this is a bit more positive. This was mainly because at the end of each chapter, Evie lists what she needs to do to further her therapy, and who to inform if she is finding it difficult. For young people who have undiagnosed mental illnesses, or do not have access to appropriate care, this could be life-changing information.
The main difference between ‘Am I Normal Yet?’ and other novels that focus upon mental illness is that this has a specifically feminist spin. A huge range of feminist issues are blatantly discussed, including the tampon tax, the Bechdel test, and internalised misogyny. Although I found it personally a bit far-fetched that a film buff such as Evie hadn’t heard of the Bechdel test, this allows feminist issues to be introduced perfectly to young readers.
Fourteen-year-old me would’ve poured over every single page of this book. I wish I could give it to her. 🙂